March 27, 2014
More digital English manga, less accidental virus downloads with new distribution deal
by Sadie Mason-Smith
Manga readers rejoice! No longer will you have to rely on sketchy downloads from mysterious trenchcoated boys in fedoras to get your latest Japanese graphic novel fix. No more will you need to depend on a scanlator’s shaky grasp of two languages to get Soul Eater NOT! before some jerk on the internet spoils the latest chapter. Thanks to Square Enix and Yen Press, you’ll now be able to find out at the exact same time as your overseas pen pal just what the hell is going on in Yoshiki Tonogai’s new mystery-thriller, Secret, and other titles.
Publishers Weekly’s Calvin Reid reports that the Hachette Book Group’s graphic novel imprint, Yen Press, has completed a distribution deal with Square Enix and the Tuttle Mori Agency to bring the latest manga chapters to English and Japanese readers at the same time. In an effort to do an end-run around every kid on the internet who downloads scans of fan-translated manga in shady back chat-rooms because “I just want to know what happens,” Yen Press and Square Enix will be releasing the print and digital versions of popular serials in both English and the original Japanese, all on the same day. Reid explains:
“The practice of releasing new chapters of popular manga series simultaneously in Japanese and English language editions has become a key element in both satisfying fan demand and fighting digital piracy and scanlators.”
In addition to the latest chapters of Soul Eater NOT! and Secret, Yen Press will also be providing digital downloads of some of the full volumes of Square Enix’s manga line, including hits like Black Butler and Full Metal Alchemist. Readers will be able to get up off of the floor of their local bookstore and take to their favorite e-reader or app, as titles will be available from the Kindle store, Kobo, iBooks, Google Play, and even the poor benighted Nook store starting on April 8th.
The publishing director of Yen Press, Kurt Hassler, is excited to be “Square Enix’s international manga distributor for everything.” He says, “We’ve learned from the scanlators. Both series will be legally available as e-books as soon as they go on sale in Japan.”
The digital versions will include some bonuses like colored pages not available in print editions and a complete lack of paper cuts from turning pages.
Sadie Mason-Smith is a former Melville House intern.